Agenda item

DM/21/04249/FPA - Site of former St Peters School, Main Road, Gainford

Residential Development of 37 units with associated access and landscaping (resubmission of application DM/20/01603/FPA)


The Committee considered a report of the Senior Planning Officer which provided details of an application for residential development of 37 units with associated access and landscaping (resubmission of application DM/20/01603/FPA) at site of former St Peters School, Main Road, Gainford (for copy see file of minutes).


G Spurgeon, Senior Planning Officer gave a detailed presentation of the application which included a site location plan, aerial photographs, photographs of the site and the proposed street scene.


Local member Councillor Rowlandson spoke on behalf of himself and the Chair and stated that the development was poor and did not include St Peters School building which was part of the original planning permission. In his opinion leaving the building would be detrimental to the area and to the development and he therefore supported the officer’s recommendation to refuse the application. He felt that the residents of Gainford had been let down and that the building was a target for vandalism and hoped that the owner of the building would come forward in the future with a plan for it.


The applicant Louise Wood addressed the Committee and thanked them for the opportunity to speak on the item. She advised that she worked for ELG Planning who represented Kebbell Homes. She pointed out that Kebbell Homes did not own the building of St Peters School, and this was why the application was solely to develop the land surrounding it. She explained that Kebbell Homes had been working with the landowner to try and reach an agreement, but after years of discussion they had not been successful. In an ideal world they would have liked to develop the site as a whole but unfortunately this was not an option and an alternative proposal needed to be considered.


Kebbell Homes proposal was therefore to seek a standalone planning permission for their part of the site and hoped that this would encourage the landowner to bring their site forward too. She explained that the development would include 27% affordable housing, a two-storey apartment block with lift access and deliver open space for all residents to enjoy.


She hoped that members could appreciate the difficult situation the applicant was in and assured the Committee that they would do their best to address the outstanding issues with St Peters School. She believed this proposal was the best solution and felt there was no planning policy basis for resisting development on the Kebbell land in isolation. With regards to the officer’s third reason for refusal, she clarified that none of the properties would look onto St Peters School and noted that existing vegetation would be retained. She requested that members supported the application and granted approval.


Councillor McKeon noted that St Peters School was owned by a different landowner to the rest of the site and questioned why the landowner did not want to sell the building. The South West Team Leader referred to the presentation which showed the proposed site layout and explained that they could not come to a contractual agreement to sell the land.


In response to a question from Councillor Adam regarding Policy 6 of the CDP. The Senior Planning Officer clarified that the previous application was approved before the adoption of the CDP but stated that if it had been in place, the benefits outweighed the harm at that time.


Councillor L Brown was frustrated that they were debating the same application that had been refused the previous year. She noted that permission granted in 2018 was for the whole site and included St Peters School. She explained that this application conflicted with seven polices of the CDP in addition to parts of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). She advised that building for life had given the application two red and three ambers and stressed that in her opinion, the application was not good. 


Councillor McKeon was grateful that the officers had recommended the application to be refused and commented that it was positive to see non designated heritage assets taken seriously and that St Peters School had the capacity to be a beautiful building and could potentially be brought back into use. As it stood, the building was a magnet for vandalism and anti-social behaviour and stated that houses should not be allowed to be built around it. She hoped that they could all come together to save the heritage asset and build an appropriate development that the residents of Gainford could be proud of.


Councillor Stead agreed that the planning officers were correct to refuse the application and moved the application to be refused. This was seconded by Councillor L Brown.


Upon a vote being taken it was:




That the application be REFUSED.



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